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Jarome Iginla moves to Penguins for shot at Stanley Cup
The league’s hottest team continued its aggressive dealing late Wednesday night, acquiring the six-time All Star forward from the Flames in exchange for prospects and a first-round draft pick.
The 35-year-old Iginla waived his no-trade clause for the opportunity to join the Penguins. It wasn’t exactly a tough sell for Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero.
“He wants to win,” Shero said. “My expectation is that he’ll be a really good fit in terms of the team and the guys that we have.”
The trade marks the third big move by the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins ahead of next week’s deadline. Pittsburgh acquired veteran Dallas Stars forward Brenden Morrow on Sunday and picked up burly San Jose defenseman Doug Murray on Monday.
While bringing in Morrow and Murray gave the Penguins depth and a physical presence around the net on both ends of the ice, landing Iginla provides Pittsburgh with firepower and the potential top-six winger the team has been looking for to pair with reigning NHL MVP Malkin and All-Star forward James Neal.
Shero declined to speculate where Iginla would play and indicated his team’s newest winger is hardly concerned about how he will be used.
“He said he would help anyway he could, didn’t care about role or who he was playing with,” Shero said. “He’ll accept any role that’s asked of him by coaches or teammates.”
Iginla is in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. He was scratched from Calgary’s lineup against Colorado, ending his consecutive games streak at 441. He has nine goals and 13 assists this season for the Flames, who are well out of the playoff picture. Iginla could be in Pittsburgh as early as Thursday, but almost certainly won’t be available until Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.
Iginla led Calgary to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals, but the Flames haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009 and are currently in 14th in the Western Conference. Flames general manager Jay Feaster thanked the franchise’s all-time leading scorer for agreeing to the trade to allow the rebuilding Flames to stockpile young talent.
“We as an organization owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Jarome,” Feaster said, “not only for what he did for the franchise during his tenure as a player here and as our captain, but also for the fact that now as we recognize that despite our best efforts, and despite the work we’ve put in, we’ve fallen short of the goals we set for ourselves as an organization.
“We respect very, very much the fact that Jarome worked with us to enable this to come about.”
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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